Bart de Wijk – Process Intern
I was part of the R&D department and the Print Process Materials team, conducting research for kneading of 3D printed models, determining parts which are stronger and more temperature resistant. This is essential for print profiles, giving information to the software developers. First contact
I found Ultimaker because there was an assignment for polymer products as part of a course in my program, regarding state of the art of 3D printing. This was my first encounter with the industry. It really interested me that I wanted to do an internship, so I contacted a professor who had a friend at Ultimaker. Even though I had no practical experience one thing let to the other and I was offered both an internship and a research project that I can help with. I had to learn a lot, what works what doesn’t, but there was a lot of support from everyone walking around at Geldermalsen, solicited and unsolicited.
Working at Ultimaker
I usually work 3 days on site and 2 days at home, starting my days at 9 o clock, having coffee with people at the office. Two printers are always running, and my tasks are to put the models in the “oven”, baking, printing and analyzing the models for strength, warping, shrinkage and much more. The creative part was also very interesting and fun for me, as not many chemical science research and internships can be on this level. I am also proud that I designed a puzzle piece which fits perfectly in a specific place on a print, but if the warping is too big the piece will not fit. This kind of precision is what amazes me in Ultimaker printers as well.
The Print, Process and Materials team and the R&D department are both open and very interested. The first thing that I experienced is a lot of people asking about my research. Even if you don’t think you have a lot to talk about you get surprised by how open and involved people are, so it really immediately makes you feel like part of the team.
Talking about the values, I like one more than the other – Magic. Even though it seems so strange and outlandish, but I really believe it fits with 3D printing. In some sense it really is magic, creating something out of what was previously just empty space. This creativity and cheekiness with magic really resonate with me The other parts are more personal, the trust and the openness – because it really feels like a safe environment to experience this magic.
I like to travel a lot and read. I am also collecting and painting miniatures – some of which I print myself. I also used to do triathlon training and weightlifting when I joined the Marines. When I reflect back, it was a very transformative experience. A year felt more than seven years of my education, but I survived! My favorite moment was when I was dropped into a swimming pool at half past five in the morning. So, I can say that the open and creative culture of Ultimaker is a bit of a relief!
Memories and future
Remembering my initial memories at Ultimaker, first thing that comes to mind walking in the Geldermalsen office and seeing all the printed objects of all shapes and sizes, it was very inspiring. I was also very lucky to have the department drink the first week, meeting everyone while drinking beers together. It could not have been a better start to my internship. Hopefully when better times come we can have more laser tag as well! Thinking about the future, chemical engineers are very nice to have in the 3D printing environment, which might be really easy to oversee. As the small intricacies of the materials with which you print have a large impact on creating the print profiles and running the software. I think Ultimaker would benefit from that.